The Work of Our Hands Matters

Work matters. It is not only the name of a good book, but more importantly the way the world really is. Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei.

And as one of my good friends says to me, often, “The work of our hands matters, Steve.” He is an entrepreneur, profoundly so– so much so that it is hard for most of us to live a day of our lives without interacting with something that he has touched with his vision and skill, his creativity and imagination—yes, the work of his hands.

Seeing the beautiful City Hall of Pasadena, CA, driving into the city at midnight, made me reflect on the work of someone’s hands– probably a cast of thousands in fact. Of city fathers and mothers who had visions of what they wanted, of architects who listened and created, of builders of all sorts—with hammers and trowels, with rulers and saws, with chisels and shovels –whose literal hands brought this building into being.

“Since its opening on December 27, 1927, 80-year old Pasadena City Hall has remained one of the most distinctive public buildings in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An official building of imposing beauty, massive yet graceful, and suited to a land of flowers and sunshine” is what the Pasadena Board of Directors (called the City Council in modern times) had in mind when they undertook to build the present City Hall.”

Tom Nelson, author of the very good new book, Work Matters, and my walking companion this morning, put it this way, “That is not just a utilitarian construction!” Instead, someone wanted to make something beautiful for the generations. A gift to history– in its own wonderfully unique way, a common grace for the common good.

Dr. Steven Garber is Founder and Principal of the Washington Institute and author of The Fabric of Faithfulness.

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